Boskovich Farms' Russ Widerburg Details a Steady Celery Market but Challenging Costs
OXNARD, CA - Building a healthy and vibrant celery destination is critical to the message of a fresh produce department. With a dynamic market, rising production costs, and supply chain challenges keeping growers on their toes, Boskovich Farms is one major category player more than riding out the rollercoaster this month—ensuring retailers are stocked and ready to rock with that fresh message.
“The current market is in the low teens, and other than Super Bowl celery stick demand creating a little extra demand for the next couple of weeks, supplies indicate the market doesn’t have much chance for a spike unless some adverse weather affects growing and harvesting conditions,” Russ Widerburg, Commodity Sales Manager, tells me. “Things appear steady for now with good supplies and good quality available.”
Boskovich ships celery from Oxnard, California, year-round. Although the summer growing district is in the Lompoc Valley, product is transferred to Oxnard and also ships directly from Lompoc Valley Cooling, Russ adds.
The challenges to growing these days have been touching every aspect of the supply chain, and freight costs are no exception.
“Currently, freight costs are having a negative effect on celery pricing and demand. Extremely high costs factor into whether or not an item that only gets 736 cases on a load gets put onto a truck—compared to a small box and lighter weight items where you’re able to get upwards of 2,016 cartons on a load,” Russ explains, breaking down the puzzle for me.
Nevertheless, companies like Boskovich are rising to the challenge and doing so with success, especially when an operation that has more than 100 years of experience in the business, an experienced and knowledgable retail sales staff, and deep relationships with a current retail customer base that have established the company as an industry trailblazer.
“Our customer service and quality control are top-notch, and we grow, pack, and ship at a high standard always. Currently, we are offering corrugated paper boxes, recyclable plastic boxes, and RPCs,” Russ states. “All commodity sales at Boskovich Farms are done on a FOB basis.”
As we move through the first weeks of 2022, could February bring a wave of calm to the market and industry challenges? Maybe the better question is, when is this industry ever calm?